The Red Sox got a great start from Henry Owen and the offense mashed its way to 10 runs; the 11th time they have scored at least that many this season. The win was just their fifth against the Orioles this season, and prevented another series sweep.
Top Play (WPA): The Red Sox’s offense was really clicking last night. In the top of the third inning they scored three times to take a 4-0 lead. Two of the three runs came on a two-out, two-run home run to deep left field by Dustin Pedroia (WPA: .152). The home run was Pedroia’s second since returning from the disabled list, and his first of two on the night. He smacked a two-out, three-run bomb to deep left in the top of the fourth inning that put the game out of reach. While you are here, why not watch the laser show:
Two-run shot in the third inning:
Three-run shot in the fourth inning:
Bottom Play (WPA): After the Red Sox put a three-spot on the board in the top of the third inning, the Orioles started off well in the bottom half of the inning. Gerardo Parra led off and roped a single up the middle, the first real hard contact off Henry Owens. But then J.J. Hardy promptly grounded into a 4-6-3 double play (WPA: – .058). The double play included a really nice turn around the second base bag by Deven Marrero, who made his first major league start at shortstop, which is his natural position.
Key Moment: It is not really a single moment, but getting 7.2 innings from Henry Owens was pretty great. It was especially nice that his solid outing came the night after the previous starter, Joe Kelly, did not get out of the third inning due to injury, and then the game went to extra innings, forces that combined to have Torey Lovullo use nine pitchers on the night. Owens did not just eat up innings; he also pitched really well. He had all four of his pitches working, getting swings and misses on one quarter of the changeups and sliders he threw (11/43). Owens allowed no runs on six hits, struck out four, and, critically, walked nobody. All told, it was a promising start against a pretty decent lineup.
Trend to Watch: If the Red Sox keep winning, things will get more interesting in terms of the draft and signing any player that receives a qualifying offer (QO) (e.g., David Price, Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmerman). The Red Sox’s better play of late has moved them up to being the 10th worst team in baseball (yay!). If this holds they will get the 10th overall pick in next summer’s first year player draft. This is interesting because a top-10 pick is a good thing, and players taken in the top 10 tend to have more successful careers. But it is also interesting because the 10th pick is the last pick that is protected, meaning they would not have to relinquish it if they were to sign a free agent that received a QO. So the ideal situation is that the Red Sox play interesting ball over the remaining 17 games, but don’t play well enough to advance their league standing above 10th worst. This way we get to see decent baseball for the rest of the month, the team gets a top-10 player in the draft, and they can sign a top-level pitcher to fortify next years rotation without worrying about losing said draft pick. That is a beautiful scenario.
Coming next: The Red Sox have an off day tomorrow and then head to Toronto for a weekend series with the division-leading Blue Jays. The Red Sox will send Rick Porcello to the mound on Friday night, who has been great lately, but the ridiculous Blue Jays’ offense, which is even more ridiculous in the Rogers Centre, will present a tough test. Hopefully he can keep up his streak of solid outings. The Jays will counter with Marcus Stroman. Stroman will be making only his second major league start this season, a result of tearing his ACL during Spring Training. Stroman was for the most part sharp in his first outing last weekend against the Yankees in New York. The Red Sox offense should look to take advantage of a pitcher who is still getting acclimated to pitching regularly. The surge to finish in third continues!
Photo by Evan Habeeb/USA Today Sports Images